That Does Not Compute

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Mar 27th, 2011
Mel
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BrainDrawingKaraThat Does Not Compute!

Did you ever watch “Lost In Space”?  Robot would often get overwhelmed and wave his accordian-like arms, saying, “That does not compute. That does not compute.” It was actually quite comical. I have days where I would love to do the same thing. Unfortunately, such behavior from an adult woman may result in immediate institutionalization, complete with a straight jacket and probable shock treatments.

Poor Robot. What was his problem? I think he just reacted to things differently than his human counterparts. What this pathetic mechanical creature did not realize, is that humans perceive everything on an individual basis, so forget about agreeing on the interpretation of anything. What may be completely illogical to a robot, may make perfect sense to me.

What does this have to do with ink? Plenty. How we interpret art, writing, color, music, moments in time, and even our own existence, is purely individual. We each possess our own set of senses. We see differently, smell differently, taste differently, hear differently…you get the picture.  It’s not the same as perspective, of which I have previously dragged on about. Perception is all about the senses and relationships, while perspective is more about POV.  In fact, perception gets confused even further by male and female brains. (Yikes!)

Yes, my tiny female brain perceives things differently than a “Big Man-Brain.”  (A term I have recently coined.) It seems, however, that while the female brain is smaller than its male counterpart’s excessive grey matter, women possess a greater percentage of white matter, which makes women able to multi-task and work quicker and more efficiently than men. (I suppose that Robot was programmed by a man and thought like a man. Thus, the spastic arm movements and chronic overload of his system.)

But, I have digressed. This is not a feminist blog. It is about how we interpret what we experience, and how our senses influence our decisions. It’s about why one person finds great beauty in a piece of art or music, and another sees something grotesque, or hears only discord.

We are all unique, yet quite the same. Most of us are born with the same basic parts and skills. How we develop and grow is based partially on genetics, partially on our environment and learning experiences, a bit on our intelligence, and also on our individual senses. Since we all “sense” things at varying degrees, we experience and learn differently from one another. Scientists believe that our reaction to new situations is based on preconceived notions from past experiences, leaving us less open to fresh ways of interpreting things.

While researching and sorting through the different branches of Neuroscience, Psychology and Philosophy that deal with perception, my pathetic little brain began to feel a bit scrambled. I mean, seriously, why do people have to complicate things to such degrees?  It smells of misogyny. Male philosophers and scientists using their Big Man-Brains to interpret what is actually very simple. (Ok – I apologize for sounding sexist, but go do the research yourself. It’s absurd.)

I am not saying that we shouldn’t research the intricacies of “the way we work”, but, that we can learn to understand and get along better with one another if we accept our differences and embrace the concept of individuality. We can actually open our minds to other’s perceptions of things, and think outside of our own little boxes.

It’s simply a matter of walking in someone else’s shoes. A recent experience slapped me in the face with blunt force. It caused me great distress and made me physically ill. This incident was caused by a simple miscommunication, and how another person perceived my good intentions. Suddenly, I was judged, criticized, and had apparently caused great offense. A simple gesture of benevolence, absent of malice, turned several lives upside down. I blamed myself, until I realized that the problem was not with me, but a result of misperception. The product of one soul’s pain, stress, and anxiety, interacting with another’s, and culminating into my bout of IBS. In other words,the ultimate shit-pile.

My usual approach to perceiving art, music, books, people, places, and things, is a result of being taught to walk in “other’s” shoes. I normally look at the whole, grasping the beauty, or lack thereof, in a total, “sensual” manner. I immerse my senses of color, sound, smell, taste, and touch into every encounter. I feel how the parts and players modulate together, responding to one another with intricate nuances, which ultimately allow me to interpret and react in my own, unique way. I do not seek the approval of others, and refuse to cave into our society’s “lemming” mentality. I prefer my own perception of danger or delight, a childlike view of the world, even though it occasionally backfires on me.

Every encounter stirs the inner tattoos of my soul, ignites emotions, sets off old memories, and creates new and exciting ideas in my brain. A ride on a subway transforms into an explosion of my senses. Sounds, smells, and even tastes, blend together, creating a new recipe of perception in my brain. I see hurt in someone’s eyes and feel the pain. I hear the sounds of the city, the heartbeat of life. Did you know, you can taste B.O., just as easily as smelling danger?

Ah, perception. It’s such a human attribute. But what about poor “Robot”. Is he a lost cause? A futurist named Ian Pearson, has written about our evolving human brain. He sees man adding silicon enhancements to our brains, allowing for quicker processing of information, and lessening the effects of the technological overload that now plagues the average humanoid. Pearson calls this first stage of superman “Homocybermeticus”. Once we completely replace the human brain, we become “Homohybridus”. When our organic parts wear out, we will replace them and evolve into “Homomachinus.” We are now programmed computers, with the potential for eternal life and intelligence beyond compare.

Are we gradually going to lose our ability to perceive? Will we become like our robot friend, able to calculate the expected outcome in a flash, yet unable to be creative in a crisis? What will it be like to no longer be an ordinary “human”? Will we purchase a Stepford wife, husband, or child? (For some, that may be preferred.) With the advent of interactive, animated porn, it’s not hard not to imagine that the “Orgasmatron” of the movie “Sleeper” will follow soon after. (Or does that already exist?)

All kidding aside, perception is a tricky subject. It reminds me of that song from “Shall We Dance”, called “Let’s call the Whole Thing Off.” Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are rollerskating, singing about tomatoes and tomaaaatoes, potatoes and potaaaaatoes. They can’t agree on something as simple as pronunciation. It’s a true “Slice of life.” We want so much to get along, but we all perceive things differently.

We all get our senses in a tizzy at times, and it is usually all for naught. Whatever happened to walking in love?  I have a suggestion. The next time you are about to explode, take a deep breath and think about Robot waving his arms. Put yourself in someone else’s position, and be thankful you are human. Click to listen…… does not compute

“That Does Not Compute”

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